• Submit a written proposal (2500 word limit +/- 10 percent)
• This will propose an operational improvement for a real organisation
• You have to use Operations Management tools
• Make it compelling
A lot of Operations and Project Management is about making things better; finding better ways to deliver the same products, or finding ways of making products better.
An important skill within industry is being able to identify operations improvements and then propose those improvements in the right way. The “right way” is the way that encourages people to understand and adopt your ideas. This is a chance for you to develop that skill.
Your brief is to make things better; propose an improvement in the operations management of an organisation. It can make things cheaper, quicker, improved, more flexible or dependable. It can involve goods, services or both. It can be an organisation you work for, you have worked for, you have seen or even one you have researched out of interest. The vital thing is you need to have sufficient information to do the following:
• Find a problem or an opportunity for improvement.
• Use appropriate Operations and Project Management tools to develop your proposal. Analyse what is happening, what is needed and what could be better. Use the tools to show how things can be improved.
• Develop your proposal into a complete plan; what should be done, why, how and when.
• Present it well;
1. Create a written proposal that includes all of the relevant details that you need to clearly explain what you are recommending.
2. Create a clear summary to help inform readers to be enthusiastic about your proposal; a summary should make a reader interested about the topic and explain the key parts of the proposal.
• You should include a brief outline of your chosen organisation and the products/services to which your initiative relates.
• You should present your initiative for change, describing what, how, why and when it could be implemented.
• You will support your initiative using analysis including operations and project management tools.
• You will need some data and you will need to explain how you gathered it, what assumptions you have made and any other data you would like before implementation.
(more details provided within lectures).
• A reminder of a standard report format is suggested at the end of this briefing to remind you of what typically gets included. I believe a summary is critical as it gives people a way into the report but for this assignment there is no fixed structure.
• To score higher marks I am looking for you to use your judgement to structure your proposal so that it is compelling reading.
• There is a limit of 2,500 words equivalent but only write up to this limit if you have valuable content.
• There is no penalty for short proposals and well-written more concise proposals are likely to gain more marks for persuasion.
• Use appendices for extra information.
• Reference all data and work you have used using the Harvard format
Key points to remember
• You should structure your proposal to be compelling.
• The summary is critical. It gives people a way into the report.
this is designed to help but it’s not essential
How do I choose a problem?
– Pick something you understand; you will need data so look for companies where there is data available. This will generally be somewhere you have seen.
– Pick something small. Don’t try and recommend changing all of Volkswagen’s operations to make higher quality cars. You could, for example suggest a small change to the way one dealership works.
– Pick something where there’s room for improvement. You don’t need to change things radically, but you must be able to show how change will make it better. Don’t report on how efficient Apple’s logistics are, suggest a way delivery to the end users in the UK could be better.
– To find a problem, look around you. Look at the things in your world. If you can’t find anything, look further; visit organisations, talk with your friends and family. Start early and keep going until you have an idea.
How much do I need to explain the situation?
Just enough for the reader to understand. Be clear about the organisation, the way it works, your data and your analysis. You don’t need to map the whole organisation or explain all of its history.
Can I make up a theoretical organisation or problem?
Does my proposal have to be practical? How can you tell?
Yes it has to be practical. You need to explain how it would work, how it could be implemented and why it is better than what is there today. The readers will assess its practicality based on what information you give them.
What if I do all of the analysis and it turns out to be too expensive at the last minute?
That’s unlucky. If you get to this stage, make the proposal and highlight what would be needed to make it practical; a slightly different technology, or a cheaper cost, for example.
This assignment is intended to give you the chance to demonstrate your abilities in an area of interest to you in a way you may be able to use in the future. If you get stuck or are not sure of the best way forward don’t be afraid to ask
This is a mediocre, standard structure provided for guidance. It will not lead to a great proposal but may help as a starting point. People often ask what sections to include. The choice is yours, you need to make a compelling written proposal. Here is a guide for a simple structure.
This should look good with an interesting title. You can use a front cover from the options in Microsoft Word. Include the usual info like your name, student number, the date etc. Quite often this is good place to include a very short abstract or key tag line.
50 – 250 words to sell your whole proposal.
Short, interesting and explaining the whole proposal.
This creates the first impression of your proposal and sets the tone. Write it last.
Interests the reader, give them plenty of info on what they will read and leave them ready to read the core of the proposal.
An introduction should put your work in context (what industry, company etc) and explain the whole proposal in limited detail; aim, methods and an indication of the recommendations. It should also indicate the structure.
Maybe start with a background section giving details of the market conditions or the developments leading to the current position.
You might have a section titled “the problem” or “the opportunity” pointing out how the problem situation can be seen
Perhaps follow this with the analysis you have carried out showing the tools you’ve used, explaining why, and the results. (Don’t waste time explaining in detail how the tool works, keep the information here concise).
You may have a section describing and analysing a range of options.
Somewhere explain the improvement initiative in detail and how and why it is relevant to the company. Does it align with the strategy? What does it make better and why should they care?
You should show how the initiative will be implemented. Give a simple plan
The titles will vary but never call this ‘main section’. Guide the reader by using appropriate headings. One word may be too brief, a sentence too much.
Conclusions and Recommendations
This should bring together all the man sections. Don’t bring in anything new, you should summarise and develop what is in the main sections clearly and concisely.
Clearly state the potential benefits and any drawbacks.
All the things that may be important. Detail of the data, company history etc, include in appendix.
Of course, whatever you do needs to be referenced rigorously using the Harvard style.
Assignment Marking Rubric
Satisfactory 50 -59%
Sound 60 – 69%
Good 70% – 84%
Excellent 85% +
Performance: Does you proposal offer appropriate benefits which are aligned with the organisation’s needs?
30 % Your proposed intervention is inappropriate, unlikely to work or unjustified
You demonstrate understanding of the organisation, you identify some benefits. Justification is weak. You demonstrate a clear grasp of the benefits to the organisation and likely risks and issues of implementation. You demonstrate the alignment and benefits of your intervention well. You provide a case for action based on tools of analysis. Your intervention offers well explained and justified benefits resulting in a strong case for action. You use tools appropriately and effectively As with First, but the case is overwhelming.
Practicality: Is your proposal likely to work? Discussion of the initiative; nature, practice and operational implications.
Your initiative is unclear or inappropriate
You have described an intervention which is relevant but it has significant flaws or demonstrates partial understanding Your intervention is clear and well defined, supported by appropriate tools of analysis and implementation. There may be drawbacks. Your intervention is coherent and practical. You have covered issues of analysis, risk and implementation. You have used several tools appropriately. Your intervention is well described and likely to work, the path to implementation is clear. Several tools or theories are used well and with critical comment. As with first, but mature, meticulously planned and executed proposal using high quality analysis. Faultless in execution.
Persuasion: Is your proposal presented in a compelling way?
30 % Your proposal is very unclear or unattractive. Your proposal is largely coherent. There may be errors or elements which are weak. Your proposal is explained clearly and coherently. There are few errors or wasted elements. Your proposal is clear and interesting; well structured and presented. Your proposal is well structured and presented, conveying all the important information clearly and accessibly. Your proposal is hard to ignore and compelling. It offers answers to all the questions needed in accepting the proposal and starting implementation.